Only 10 kilometers (6 miles) past Praia do Forte , this seductively low-key village is a welcome antidote to Praia do Forte. Imbassaí attracts a mix of locals, families, gays, and a few fashionistas (bikini spreads for Brazilian Vogue are often shot here). Aside from charmingly rustic pousadas and restaurants, the main draws are the beach barracas poised along a strip of sand dunes, which straddle Atlantic beaches on one side and the warm, Coca-Cola–colored Rio Imbassaí on the other side.
The upshot is that you can spend your day alternating between two utterly relaxing watery worlds (although the river side is more interactive in that you can actually plant your table and chairs in the water and nibble on tiny fried pititinga and agulhinha fish, while even tinier fish nibble on your toes).
If this setup proves too sedentary, you can always go swimming (or crabbing) in a nearby lagoon or soak yourself in the waterfall a 30-minute walk away, on the other side of the Linha Verde .
There are quite a range of good pousadas and restaurants in Imbassaí. The most charming of lot is the Eco Pousada Vilangelim (Al. dos Angelins, tel. 71/3677-1144, www.vilangelim.com.br , R$190–230 d). Although the cozy bungalow rooms are a little snug, you can always hang out in the main dining and lounge areas. Featuring an original decor that blends traditional and contemporary furnishings as well as art from all over Brazil , these common spaces extend to the wooden decks, where a tiled swimming pool is framed by lush foliage. The food (especially the lavish breakfasts) is excellent, and the staff is terrifically attentive.
You’ll also get a friendly welcome at the simple though lovingly cared for Pousada Cabanas Cajibá (Al. das Bromélias, tel. 71/3677-1111, www.pousadacajiba.com.br , R$100–150 d), set amidst a well-tended garden, with a pool, where mico monkeys are frequent visitors. Accommodations are in two-story bungalows. Those on the second floor look out onto a canopy of fruit trees.
For Bahian specialties such as fish, seafood, and moquecas, plant yourself beneath the enormous mangaba tree that shelters the Santana Restaurante e Lanchonete (Rua da Igreja, tel. 71/3677-1237, noon–10 p.m. daily, R$25–40). Aside from the welcome shade, when ripe, the tree’s mangabas yield a succulent nectar (it will make your lips stick together slightly).
Also famed for her moquecas is Vânia (Al. dos Hibiscos, tel. 71/3677-1040, 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Tues.–Sun., R$25–35), located just off the main drag.
At night, what laid-back action there is unfolds on the main street of Rua das Amendoeiras. É Massa (tel. 71/3677-1067, R$15–25) is an Italian restaurant bar owned by an Argentinean expat; it serves tasty salads, empanadas, and homemade pizzas and pastas.
Always abuzz with an older crowd is Nega Fulo (tel. 71/3677-1019, R$20–30), a romantically lit pizzeria fused with the equally enticing Jerimum Café, which has elaborate drinks and mouthwatering desserts.
Imbassaí is only 10 kilometers (6 miles) north of Praia do Forte  along the BA-099. Buses leave from Salvador ’s Rodoviária Central approximately every hour with the Expresso Linha Verde bus company (tel. 71/3450-0321). From the Terminal da Calçada Cacique buses (tel. 71/3392-1376) bound for Porto de Sauípe also stop at the entrance to town.